German producer Dana Ruh has released for some of house music's most cherished labels, with the likes of Ostgut Ton and Cocoon hosting her heavily nuanced and always unpredictable sounds. It's her most recent endeavors, however, that have really got house music heads in a spin, with Naturally, her debut LP for Jus-Ed's Underground Quality label, already talked about as an early contender for one of 2014's best such albums.
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We caught up with the Brouqade label boss recently, as she talked us through her busy days, her new album and why she had to follow her heart...
Hey Dana, how's life at the moment? You been keeping busy?
Life is great right now. I am always busy. Between gigs, I run my label, Brouqade, and my days in the studio are always full. It can be difficult as I need to plan out my days very carefully to make sure I can fit everything in.
And where are you right now? How is it there?
I’m in Berlin, although we've had not a hard winter until now though. It feels like spring when I look out of the window!
You need to get yourself to the U.S. soon!
I will be coming to the States soon actually but that is all the information that I can give at the moment on this.
You seem to have a large collection of music in your back catalogue. How do you decide what gets released and what doesn't?
I’m constantly working on music. I love music so it’s very important that I spend a lot of time in the studio. There isn’t a lot of pressure for me to decide what gets released or not. I just produce and sometimes send it to a label or maybe not. And yeah, there is a lot of music on my hard drive!
You made your name producing for labels such as Buzzin Fly and Ostgut Ton, and of course, your own Brouqade imprint. Is your sound dictated by the label you represent or is it more a case of picking tracks from your catalogue and thinking, 'oh, this might suit X' etc?
Well I always produce how I feel. There isn’t any stress for me, and I never feel I have to produce a certain way. In the past I used to think I had to do this or that for a track to fit on a certain label, but I realized that just blocks the creative flow. I like to produce with freedom and if the track fits on a certain label, than it fits.
Yeah, a lot of label owners complain that they're always sent music which people think 'fits' their sound. Is that something that happens at Brouqade too? Or do you think fans of the label are more conscious with how to get their music released on the label?
It doesn't happens to us that much to be honest. I think people know that we are really open and we can communicate freely. Of course, we won't release a trance record, but we're open to techno, dub and house in all its forms...
So do you actively work on the A&R at the label or is it mainly friend's music and demos that you release? Have their been many tracks you wished you signed that you didn't?
Yes, both Anthea and I are in charge of A&R for the label. We've been lucky enough that we've been able to sign everything we've wanted so far. We want a good platform for our artists and it's great that we now have this.
Did you start the label with one idea in mind? Did you ever think it'd reach the success that it has?
Well, Brouqade started as a hobby, but it grew when I met my friend Ann while both of us were working at a TV production company. She told me she’d help out, and the rest is history. It first started as a place where I could release my music and music of other producers I liked. However, I decided in 2012 that I must restructure the label. Anthea joined us and we decided we needed a more strict release schedule, as well as a more exact vision. And the same with you – did you think you'd be at this stage in your career when you left your day job to work on music full-time? I left my day time job because I had to make a decision. i just wanted to give 100 % to my passion and I couldn't do it any other way. So I had to follow my heart and my dreams, and it turned out even better than I expected, which I didn't really expect!
Tell us about your new album on Underground Quality if you will...
Well, I'm always trying to push myself as an artist. However, when I produce I just produce how I feel. I find inspiration in other art forms like photography and visual art. The album is already available as a CD and comes out at the beginning of April on vinyl.
Lastly...what's next in the Dana Ruh story?
More productions, some great gigs...and again, more music!
Dana Ruh's Naturally LP is out now on Underground Quality Records...
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